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Pre-Packaged Food Labels

Pre Packaged Food Labels (PDF)

Pre-packaged food labels

Food labels are a legal requirement and they provide important information to  consumers in relation to the food they purchase, the nutrient value, and how the food should be stored and used safely. Food labels must be accurate, clear and easy to understand for the consumer. The following is a list of the mandatory requirements for pre-packaged food labels:

  • name of the food*
  • list of ingredients
  • ingredients or processing aids causing allergies or intolerances (there are 14 allergens that required a declaration)
  • quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
  • net quantity of the food*
  • date of minimum durability or the use-by date
  • special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  • name or business name and address of the food business operator
  • country of origin or place of provenance (where its absence would be misleading or where it is required under legislation)
  • instructions for use where it would  be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions
  • the alcohol strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2% of alcohol, by volume*
  • nutritional declaration.

Must appear in the same field of vision on the pack

Pre-packaged food

Pre-packaged food is defined as any single item for presentation to the final consumer and to mass caterers, consisting of a food and the packaging into which it was put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, but in any event in such a way that the contents cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging.


The European Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, also known as FIC legislation, details the EU rules on general food labelling. The food business operator under whose name the food is marketed is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information  contained on a food label. It is important to familiarise yourself with this piece of legislation when developing your food label content.

How to present labelling information

  • Mandatory information must appear directly on the food packaging or on a label attached to the food
  • it must be indicated with words and numbers but can also be shown using pictograms and symbols
  • information must be easily visible, clearly legible and indelible, if required
  • it must not be in any way hidden or obscured by any other written or pictorial matter
  • minimum font size is 1.2mm for the letter ‘x’ (or 0.9mm for food packaging with surface areas less than 80cm2)
  • in Ireland, food information must be provided in English. Other languages may be provided in addition.

Nutrition labelling

Having a nutrition declaration on pre- packaged foods is mandatory and Table 1 presents the information you must have on your label, as well as the additional voluntary information that you can provide. Nutrition information must be presented in tabular format (where space permits), with nutrients in a particular order. The nutrition declaration must be expressed per 100g/ml, and if desired a voluntary per portion declaration can be included too.

Why is correct labelling important?

  • Inaccurate labelling and information may cause:
  • damage to your brand and reputation
  • loss of consumer trust in your product
  • product recall
  • civil claims from injured consumers (due to allergies/intolerances)
  • criminal prosecution.
  • All of these will cost your business money, in addition to the cost of correcting and reproducing the labelling/packaging.

Allergens that must be declared

  1. Cereals containing gluten
  2. Crustaceans
  3. Eggs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Soybeans
  7. Milk
  8. Nuts
  9. Celery
  10. Mustard
  11. Sesame seeds
  12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (>10mg/kg or mg/l)
  13. Lupin
  14. Molluscs


Fact sheet produced by the Food Industry Development Department.